The VA Needs Saving!

Every American veteran should be concerned in what is happening to the institution that tasked with their care…..

The institution that is there to aid all veterans with their health and entitlements (and yes if one uses the VA then they are using entitlements) and in years past there has been scandal after scandal…..but it soldier on….and then we elected a dude who was always harping about Vets and behind the scenes is screwing them……

“On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” says a former administration official. If the name Ike doesn’t ring a bell, at least in relation to Veterans Affairs, that’s appropriate. A ProPublica expose by Isaac Arnsdorf explains he’s “reclusive” Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, one third of “a previously unknown triumvirate” that has clandestinely been exerting influence over the VA—never mind that none of them have served in the military or worked in government. Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman round out the trio, which is referred to within the VA as “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” as that location serves as their informal HQ. Arnsdorf ran into some walls on the interviewing front: the men, a VA rep, and a White House spokeswoman declined to answer questions.

His reporting is therefore based on hundreds of documents he got using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials. The story he has pieced together is one of significant power: The men have the president’s ear and influence over personnel, with those who “were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago crowd,” including those in a slew of top positions (secretary, deputy secretary, chief of staff, director of electronic health records modernization), “pushed out or passed over.” Arnsdorf alleges that decisions have to be run by them, officials fly to consult with them on taxpayers’ dime, and initiatives pushed by the men in some cases have benefited their own interests. Read the full piece for much more on an “arrangement … without parallel in modern presidential history.”

This does not surprise me at all……as usual he, Dear Leader, was all talk and action is questionable where the veterans are concerned…….once again someone that is big talk that has never served…there ought to be a law!

Time for veterans to take control of their benefits (watch for a Veterans Day march)…..something on the line of the Bonus Army from the past….(dammit Google it!)

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

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Closing Thoughts–10Aug18

As long as I was writing about corruption  how about our current Sec. of Commerce?

There has always been a story about the greed of some in public office….but it seems that with the present administration of Our Dear Leader has more than his fair share……but one of the best is his choice for Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, sets a new benchmark for greed and corruptibility….

Forbes magazine, a much respected business publication has issued a story about the “Chief Grifter” in charge at the Commerce Department……

The buzziest political story of the day comes courtesy of Dan Alexander at Forbes, who’s out with some devastating allegations against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Alexander interviewed 21 people who say that Ross, through his private equity firm WL Ross & Co., “siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there.” All told, the allegations add up to more than $120 million, prompting this jarring assessment: “If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history,” writes Alexander. Ross denies this, asserting that “the SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,” though Alexander notes that Ross’ firm did get hit with a $2.3 million fine in 2016. One lawsuit against the firm is in the appeals stage, and two others have been settled.

The story details the alleged transgressions—some involving allegations of improperly calculated fees to clients—but it’s also drawing attention for something on a much smaller scale. In demonstrating that Ross has a reputation for frugality, Alexander writes this: “Two former WL Ross colleagues remember the commerce secretary taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself.” Other tales of being a cheapskate, including unfulfilled pledges to charity, follow, and a commerce official dismisses them as “petty nonsense.” Besides, the official adds, Ross doesn’t add sweetener to his coffee. Click to read the full story, which accuses Ross of trying to mislead Forbes about his wealth in order to climb the rankings of the rich.

I wish this was the one and only “leader” acting like a self-centered toad….but then that would be a lie….this administration is built on greed and corruption.

Peace Out!

Birds Of A Feather?

The “Flock” is getting larger.

It is interesting to see all the legal allegations swirling around the GOP and its leaders….(I need to say here that the situations that I post here are just allegations and not a done deal)…..

Of course the most loud news is around the Dear Leader and his knowledge of what Russia has done and if he was part of the attacks….then there is Our Dear Leader’s children and what they knew about any tampering that may have occurred….and the people that were part of the campaign that are in legal jeopardy as I type….

Now let’s go to the Trump administration….the cabinet…..corruption runs deep from Zinke to Ross to Pruitt…all of whom were part of the GOP legislative institution…..that are now under investigation for their misuse of taxpayer funds on purely personal things.

What about the House of Representatives today…..well there is the sexual abuse allegations that Rep. Jim Jordan is said to have been aware of but failed to act……many wrestlers from the Ohio State team have come forward and Jordan was an assistant coach at the time……(more info from a post I wrote)…….

https://lobotero.com/2018/07/10/closing-thought-10jul18/

Then just yesterday another member of the House of Representatives was arrested for insider trading……

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., has been arrested on insider trading charges lodged by the Justice Department, law enforcement officials said Wednesday morning.

An indictment obtained from a federal grand jury also charges Collins’ son, Cameron Collins, as well as the father of his fiancee, Stephen Zarsky.

The indictment relates to Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, on which Collins served as a board member.

In June 2017, Collins passed nonpublic information about Innate’s drug trial results to his son in order to help him “make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment alleges.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/08/gop-congressman-chris-collins-to-be-indicted-on-insider-trading-charge.html

This GOP is a greedy, corrupt lot……my personal opinion.  Most no longer have any integrity that they can mortgage….

Let me say here that these are allegations against some politicos….no one has been convicted……and in this country contrary to what most Righties feel….everyone is innocent until proven otherwise……(that unless you may be Liberal then all allegations are spot on)

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

Iran And The Rest Of The Story

This post contains a lot of information but it is necessary to understand what the situation is all about…..a lot of reading….but worth the time.

Right now everybody’s attention is on this international situation or that and the one that will be getting more and more attention is Iran…..

First we need to think about all the years that the neocons fed by Israeli BS have wanted some sort of action against Iran..to include our Chief of Staff and the SecState……too many some sort of physical action but what would that accomplish?

The establishment of a military force to go abroad and overthrow governments does not appear anywhere in the Constitution of the United States, nor does calling for destruction of countries that do not themselves threaten America appear anywhere in Article 2, which describes the responsibilities of the President. Indeed, both Presidents George Washington and John Quincy Adams warned against the danger represented by foreign entanglements, with Adams specifically addressing what we now call democracy promotion, warning that the United States “should not go abroad to slay dragons.”

https://theantimedia.com/iran-war-destroy-united-states/

Our best shot at punishing Iran has been the sanctions…..their economy has suffered and protests have erupted…..but is the sanctions really the answer that the US is searching for?

President Trump’s escalation of anti-Iran rhetoric and increased US pressure against the Islamic Republic have been a boon to Iran’s noisy minority of hard-line, America-obsessed flag burners.

But the US campaign is doing more than strengthen the hard-liners. Amid a broader administration effort to deepen instability among Iranians torn by their own political and social divides, there are signs the Trump-led targeting of Iran may be backfiring, as Iranians coalesce against a foreign enemy.

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2018/0731/Has-US-misread-the-Iranian-street

As the possibility of an armed conflict grows more likely…some have stepped forward to let Our Dear Leader know that some decisions would not be in the best interest of the US……

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPs)
SUBJECT: Intelligence on Iran Fails the Smell Test

Mr. President:

https://original.antiwar.com/Veteran-Intelligence-Professionals-for-Sanity2/2018/08/01/intel-on-iran-could-be-catastrophic/

In conclusion……is all this effort truly the path that needs traveling?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s provocative speech on 22 July that attacked Iran’s leadership and policies, and prompted a brief but hostile exchange between President Hassan Rouhani and President Donald Trump about the threat of war, has provided an opportunity for Rouhani to seize the initiative and sell himself and the Iranian government, domestically and internationally, as genuinely moderate and committed to reformist policies.

If Rouhani grasps the challenge, two credibility tests will apply: are those policies truly reformist and, if so, will he have the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the military to implement them?

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/30/us_provocations_present_opportunity_for_iran_113665.html

Iran is a thorn in the side of Israel and the US will do as they order…..and that includes armed conflict something this country does not need.

Watch this site…we will keep you reading….

NOTE:  News came out after the writing of this post….the US is re-instating the sanctions as of Tuesday at 1201 hrs….

The deadline is nearly here: At 12:01am Tuesday, the US will reimpose sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the nuclear arms accord put into place by the Obama White House. President Trump backed out of that accord, though China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, and the European Union are still on board, notes the Wall Street Journal. This first round of sanctions is relatively minor compared to a much tougher round due to take effect in November that would, among other things, attempt to cut off Iran’s oil exports. As the US penalties go into effect, the EU already has issued a “blocking statute” designed to protect member nations that continue to do business with Iran, reports the AP.

While Iran is generally considered to be adhering to the 2015 agreement, Trump viewed it as a “horrible” deal, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists that Tehran must agree to tougher terms and change its behavior before sanctions are again lifted. “We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward, but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.” Among other things, Pompeo says Iran continues to sponsor terror groups throughout the Middle East

European countries some of them our allies have said that they will stand by the conditions of the deal signed in the past…..

A joint statement offered by the various top-ranking foreign policy officials in the EU, the Foreign Ministers of the three P5+1 parties and the EU chief Federica Mogherini, says they will maintain effective financial channels for Iran and ensure that they can keep exporting oil and gas.

The statement further says that the preservation of the nuclear deal is both about respecting international agreement and is “a matter of international security.” The US is threatening ‘severe consequences’ for those who don’t abide by their sanctions.

https://theantimedia.com/european-union-iran-sanctions/

And of course Our Dear Leader will not just do something and let it sink in before he starts his dance among the policies……this time another threat to our allies…..

President Trump issued another warning in regard to Tehran on Tuesday, but this time it’s directed at nations outside Iran. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” Trump tweeted. “I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” The message comes as the first round of US sanctions goes back into effect on Iran following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear arms accord. As the Guardian reports, the warning seems to be aimed mainly at the European Union, which opposes the sanctions. In fact, the EU has sought to protect member nations who continue to do “legitimate business” with Tehran. Trump calls the sanctions “the most biting” ever imposed and noted that they “ratchet up to yet another level” in November.

Iran’s president, meanwhile, tells CNN the US is engaging in “psychological warfare” to sow divisions within Iran, though Hassan Rouhani predicted the sanctions would end up isolating America, not Iran. In addition to EU states, Rouhani said China and Russia would similarly continue conducting business with Iran. However, Rouhani also said he is open to talks with Trump immediately, though he suggested that the sanctions must end first. “If somebody puts a knife in its opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate, the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table.”

I have heard of playing something by ear….but not foreign policy…..

This is not the end of the tale……just the rest of the story as of today….surely more to come……

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

Yes, There Is A North Korea Update

There has been much said about the d”deal” struck with the Kim/Trump “summit” back in June…..and there has been reports that there may be a deal on the nukes but they, North Korea, are still building long range missiles….then the question is if we are being “nice” to each other why does the North need long range missiles (of course we could ask that of the US also)

I thought I might help my readers an update on the situation with North Korea…….

Our Dear Leader received a letter from BFF Kim…….

President Trump teased an upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un on Thursday as the White House confirmed the North Korean leader sent him a letter “aimed at following up on their meeting in Singapore.” In a tweet, Trump thanked Kim for the “nice letter” and for keeping his promise of returning what’s believed to be the remains of US soldiers who fought in the Korean War, which arrived in Hawaii on Wednesday, per the AP. “I look forward to seeing you soon!” he added. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders didn’t comment on when the two leaders might meet again, but she said Kim’s letter spoke of “advancing the commitments made” at their June summit, spoofed in a K-pop artist’s latest music video, per CNN.

But how is this whole de-nukeing going?  SecState Pompeo can answwer that…..

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says North Korea is far from living up to its pledge to denuclearize and remains in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. Speaking Friday before he attends an Asian security forum with North Korea’s foreign minister, Pompeo told reporters in Singapore there was “still a ways to go” before achieving the goal of ridding the North of its nuclear weapons. Pompeo’s comments came after the White House announced Thursday that President Trump received a new letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and responded quickly with a letter of his own.

The correspondence came amid fresh concerns over Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization despite a rosy picture of progress painted by Trump, the AP reports. “Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters accompanying him to Singapore. “The world demanded that (he) do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both the UN Security Council resolutions, we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.” (Intelligence officials reportedly suspect that North Korea is continuing to build new missiles.)

The US has been criticized at the ASEAN meeting……

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says North Korea is far from living up to its pledge to denuclearize and remains in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. Speaking Friday before he attends an Asian security forum with North Korea’s foreign minister, Pompeo told reporters in Singapore there was “still a ways to go” before achieving the goal of ridding the North of its nuclear weapons. Pompeo’s comments came after the White House announced Thursday that President Trump received a new letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and responded quickly with a letter of his own.

The correspondence came amid fresh concerns over Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization despite a rosy picture of progress painted by Trump, the AP reports. “Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters accompanying him to Singapore. “The world demanded that (he) do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both the UN Security Council resolutions, we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.” (Intelligence officials reportedly suspect that North Korea is continuing to build new missiles.)

That is as up to date as I can get without being in the loop with Pompeo and that shall not happen because I think he is a slug…..was so when in Congress and has not changed since becoming SecState.

 

Waters Of Mars

Always good to see life imitating art……As a Doctor Who fan I found it interesting that an episode of the 11th Doctor (David Tennet) (Waters Of Mars) is about a massive reservoir of water found on Mars…..and presto chango…..news from scientific world……

Italian scientists searching for evidence of water on Mars—even signs that it was there billions of years ago—believe they’ve found a lake filled with the liquid just a mile beneath the Red Planet’s southern polar ice cap. Though outside experts have yet to confirm the finding, the body is thought to be 12 miles wide and potentially saturated with salts like sodium, magnesium, and calcium that would lower the water’s melting point and allow it to stay in liquid form despite the cold temperatures, Popular Mechanics reports via the study published in Science. Per CNN, it’s based on 29 observations of Mars’ Planum Australe region during a 3.5-year radar survey, completed in 2015 by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft.

A mile below the ice-covered surface, variations in radar signals revealed what appeared to be a lake similar to those found beneath Earth’s ice sheets. The AP notes the researchers weren’t able to establish the depth of the lake, which it reports prevents them from specifying “whether it’s an underground pool, an aquifer-like body, or just a layer of sludge.” Still, the scientists say they “interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars,” and they’re already imagining a connecting system of waterways. There’s a major caveat, though: Subsequent radar scans, including by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, have failed to find the same signs. They remained elusive “even when we recently summed together [thousands] of observations to create CATSCAN-like 3D views of both polar caps,” a scientist tells CNN. That said, the research team claims it, too, had difficulty establishing the lake’s presence until it fixed a data processing issue.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/underground-lake-liquid-salt-water-mars-180725154222214.html

There is more news from Mars…..water was a great find….and then there was news that other efforts might have been sabotaged…..

Don’t you hate it when you travel millions of miles from Earth, only to accidentally destroy the thing you were looking for?

That’s what may have happened with NASA’s Viking landers on Mars in 1976, which were looking for life. While this theory has been touted before, a new paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets adds more evidence to the idea.

http://www.iflscience.com/space/nasa-may-have-accidentally-destroyed-previous-evidence-for-life-on-mars/

Let’s hope that the discovery does not have the disastrous results as the Doctor Who episode…….and let’s hope that they, NASA, will be more careful with the finds and the analysis.

My Techno Post

I am not much of a techno geek so I only post on the subject as an FYI or something new that has been released……

These are my two techno references…..

Some see the rise of AI as a rise of Skynet….but then there are attempts to prevent that from happening……

Thousands of artificial intelligence (AI) experts and developers have signed a pledge vowing to “neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons,” and imploring governments worldwide to work together to “create a future with strong international norms, regulations, and laws” barring so-called killer robots.

More than 160 companies and groups from three dozen countries and 2,400 individuals from 90 countries are backing the pledge, which was developed by the Boston-based Future of Life Institute (FLI) and unveiled Wednesday during the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Stockholm, Sweden.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/18/worlds-artificial-intelligence-experts-sign-pledge-aimed-averting-dystopian-future

Your fears are addressed…..then why do I not feel better?

Next…..we all run on GPS….our blue tooth, phones, tablets, etc and the world economy also runs on GPS and that should be changed……

Duke Buckner was enjoying his breakfast at the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel, looking out on the city marina, on the day that time stuttered. Buckner oversees marketing and business development for Microsemi Corp., an American communications and defense contractor, and he gets a copy of emailed error reports for its equipment. It’s rare to get more than one in a given day. But on the morning of Jan. 26, 2016, they flooded his inbox. He forgot about breakfast.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-07-25/the-world-economy-runs-on-gps-it-needs-a-backup-plan

My two small attempts to post on techno issues…..

That does it for my Saturday……foul weather is about and we should get a lot of rain today…..so a lazy day watching Britbox (compensation not given)……